Saturday, February 7, 2009

Caviar Emptor

It was so cold in Boston this week, people stopped abusing each other on the street and turned it on the weather.

"F%$* this weather!" a guy with salt-and-pepper hair wearing head-to-toe Bill Blass screamed as he passed me on the sidewalk.

Negative 20 degree temps have a way of turning the most courteous of people into drunken sailors like that. As for me, I was in my own hell, having switched out my warm toasty mittens for my flimsier gloves due to the influx of asshole drivers on the road recently. Sure enough, as we stepped onto the crosswalk, albeit not on a Walk sign--but screw that, walkers should get a free pass on days you can't feel your ass--a car honked loudly at us, upon which my middle finger shot up defiantly in the air. It's been on auto-pilot ever since the holidays, when a mom running a red--most likely to make it to the Christmas tree lighting festival going on that day--almost mowed me down. The soft glow of the tree lights illuminated my finger quite nicely, I must say.

Partly to get warm and partly because I'd been existing off of vending machine animal crackers for the past week, I ducked into Whole Foods. I love the free samples at Whole Foods, and that night, I hit the jackpot: a special Valentine's Day sampling throughout the whole store. I quickly forgot about the bread and milk I needed--whatever, rum was serving me just fine in my Cocoa Krispies--and started sniffing out the free food.

There was ice cream and cake and chocolate and cheese--all my favorite food groups. I took a cup of ice cream and stood there patiently as the guy serving it to me waxed poetic about the bold flavors of chocolate and coffee all merging into one beautiful creamy concoction of ... whatever, dude! Just give me the damn ice cream and no one gets hurt. It was like being on one of those "free" vacations you see advertised sometimes, where you have to sit through hours and hours of salespeople going on about timeshares before you're allowed to go into a sugar coma from too many pina coladas and burn yourself to a crisp in the sun.

Despite my tendency to swear like a sailor, I am too f#$ing polite. I also feel tremendous pressure to buy whatever it is I'm sampling as well. I was obviously Whole Foods' dream customer that day. I thought I could put one over on the woman serving caviar, casually asking where I could pick up a jar, making like I was a big caviar spender and not just a big mooch, thinking they must be over on the other side of the store with all the fish.

"Oh, they're right over there," she said, pointing to a shelf right behind me.

"Uh ... oh, uh ... great! Thanks." Damn. Foiled again. I couldn't even abandon the jars on another shelf further down the road as they had to be refrigerated.

I left the store with two pints of ice cream, hot pepper jelly, dark chocolate malt balls with raspberry filling, and two jars of caviar. No bread, no milk, yet not one, but two jars of caviar came home with me that night. Caviar! There's no buying caviar in a recession! Oh, these people are good. Thank goodness they weren't giving away any filet mignon or beluga caviar or I would've had to have taken out a loan to pay for my groceries. All this free food is hurting my wallet. Next time I'll play it safe and go to Stop & Shop, where the only temptation for me are the Cookie Monster cupcakes in the bakery section. Better a fat ass than a skinny wallet.